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## Algebra 1

### Course: Algebra 1>Unit 1

Lesson 1: Overview and history of algebra

# Origins of algebra

Where did the word "Algebra" and its underlying ideas come from? Created by Sal Khan.

## Want to join the conversation?

• At , how does a person or group of people discover/invent a new type of math like Algebra? How did Newton invent calculus? Are there people doing research today creating new math to understand the universe?
• How did Newton invent calculus?

Well, Newton was describing the orbits of planets around the sun, and mentioned that he suspected the orbits were not perfectly circular, but elliptical. A friend colleague of his was unfazed by his assertions.

"Prove it" said the colleague.

And Newton shut himself up for two three days trying to come up with a mathematical proof for his theory. He had to invent calculus to do so. Which he did :)
• Why is algebra so important?
• Algebra is important because it is one of the largest, broadest and most relevant type of mathematics today. For an example, we would not be able to have landed on the moon if not for algebra. We would need to substitute unknowns (variables) in place of the information or data we do not have such as the perfect speed of shuttle/spaceship or another variable. Using algebra, constants and what we know for fact, we were able to solve for those variables and launch into space, which was deemed impossible as early as 1000 B.C.
• What is the difference between Greek letters and Roman letters?
• For the most part, Roman letters are the same letters we use today ( A, B, C, etc.). In contrast, the Ancient Greeks used a different alphabet with different letters and symbols (for instance, when you hear words like "alpha", "beta", and "gamma" you are hearing the names of certain letters in the Greek alphabet). However, the Roman civilization was influenced in a lot of ways by Ancient Greece and, because of that, there were a lot of similarities between the two cultures. As just one example, several of the Roman letters (such as "a" & "b") look a lot like the Greek letters (in this case, "alpha" & "beta").

In math, you often come across both Roman and Greek letters. For example, when dealing with triangles, you often see the triangle's angles symbolized by Greek letters ("theta" and "phi" are the most commonly used) whereas the sides of the triangle most often have Roman letters for names (such as "a", "b", & "c").

Hope this helps!
• Why is algebra used in our daily lives even if we don't want it to be?
• The same reason why the alphabet is used in our daily lives.
The same reason why you ride in/drive a vehicle every day.
The same reason why we eat with forks instead of our hands.
The same reason why you usually don't say your middle name.
The same reason why the numbers on the keyboard I'm typing on are in the order 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0.
The same reason why we store our toothbrushes in the bathroom.
Et cetera.
The reason why algebra used in our daily lives even if we don't want it to be is for convenience.
(Which is the same reason why this post is under "answer" instead of under "comment".)
Happy Studying!
—CT-2/002-24
• Why does algebra matter so much?
• You need it so you can pass HS a get your diploma
• when am i going to use this 💀💀
• when the bills need to be paid
• what when can we use algebra in?
• Algebra can and should be used in many math-related problems. It can be used to find exact answers, maxima, minima and Sal knows what else.
• Why are there multiple fathers of algebra that people credit differently? Sure, the ancient Babylonians could have used Babylonian numerals or something, and the others their form of numbers and symbols, and each person contributed differently. But does algebra have an end? Can we one day, stop discovering more algebraic formulas. Or is algebra this infinite thing that goes on and on and on?
• Great question! I believe that math as a whole is a subject that is constantly expanding as mathematicians discover new laws, formulas, and different ways of looking at math. Algebra is just part of the constantly changing form of math, and so it changes as well over time. Eventually there may be an end to discovering new algebraic formulas, but it will probably take an incredibly long time; and when discovering algebra has come to an end, there will probably be whole new topics of math to study and learn.